(Iced — Maybe) Ginger Cookies
A week before the spring Equinox, over the weekend, Mother Nature decided on one last laugh for this winter. Throughout all of Sunday and a lot of Monday big, fat, heavy snowflakes fell, piling up, covering the hillsides and the roads and the sagebrush, creating an absolutely blinding landscape when the sun came out the next day.
Which it did. Because this is Nevada and economic development agencies have proudly held forth that we get more than 300 sunny days a year in Northern Nevada. Which is true. What they don’t usually report is that the 60 not sunny days often happen in a row, creating deep, dark, depressingly gloomy Januarys and Februarys. Or that when the sun does come out and discovers on Monday morning there’s eight inches (eight inches!) of new snow, it’s dazzling. Beautiful but it’s like Chandler in The One in Barbados when Rachel yanks open the curtains and lets the sun in: Hey, remember when I had corneas?
The snow melted in about two days, and now is playing games, coming back and going away, kind of like commercials on really old reruns of Law & Order late at night, when you think there might be some show between commercials. We get sunlight in between gusts of snow.
While the snow was on the ground, I made Iced Ginger Cookies from Allysa Torey’s 2004 baking cookbook More from Magnolia. It’s one of the first recipes I’ve made from the book. The cookies were awesome and we ate every one of them. The icing, offered here because it’s in the cookbook, never came together for me. It looked like cottage cheese by the time I got tired of mixing it, and it didn’t just not taste necessary on the cookies, but not very good. Not a problem – the naked cookies were more than enough on their own.
Next time I try these, I’m going to experiment – some orange peel in a few, maybe lemon peel in some others, a sprinkle of nutmeg on a handful, and cut up crystallized ginger in some. If you make them, let me know if you try any variations and how they come out.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ cup light unsulphured molasses
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted*
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
The way I did this was to combine the dry ingredients through salt in one bowl, mixing. Oil, sugar, egg and molasses went into the bowl of my standing mixer, mixed on low until nicely mixed. Because there’s no butter needing to be creamed and beaten into submission, I did it all at once rather than creaming the fat and sugar together before adding the egg and molasses.
Took the mixer bowl off the mixer and stirred in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. I use an ice cream scoop to make my cookies come out the same size – I think it’s a teaspoon size but couldn’t swear to it. I line my trays, which are light colored and have sides, with parchment paper, whether recipes call for greased or ungreased pans or not. It’s less muss and fuss, easier clean up. Toss the parchment paper, and put the trays in the dishwasher. Parchment paper may not be a green alternative, but it beats running water in the desert as I scrub for ten minutes per tray to get baked on cookie off the surfaces.
Cool cookies on the pans on a rack for 5 minutes, then transfer from pans to rack to cool completely. Let them cool all the way before icing. Maybe only ice a few at a time or let individuals choose to ice or not ice.